Dust Is Toxic Too
Posted by Shifrah on Monday, September 26, 2011
I often go to research safe, non-toxic products for my children. Especially when it comes to plastic items, navigating what's safe and what could contain hormone-disrupting or neurotoxic chemicals is particularly difficult; it helps to have a guide for helping me choose safe products. In fact, I'd say what is as an allergy resource, the Soft Landing is for non-toxic children's products.

As you can easily imagine, both an allergy friendly home and a non-toxic home involve maintaining a home environment that's healthy and green. Often, concerns regarding these two arenas overlap, as when we discussed vinyl in Hidden Allergens: Shower Curtains, a topic which The Soft Landing also highlighted when it linked to Center for Health, Environment, and Justice article Eww. What's that Stench? Volatile Vinyl.

A recent Soft Landing blog entry, Top Ten Ways to Bust Toxic Dust Bunnies, points out that in addition to triggering allergies, dust is one of the "most significant sources of childhood exposure to toxic substances."

Children are especially susceptible to the toxicity dangers of dust because:
  • They are still developing.
  • They breathe in more air than adults and also mouth-breathe more often.
  • They have a higher heart rate and thus absorb chemicals into their tissues faster.
  • They have a greater surface area, so dermal absorption is greater.
The Soft Landing lists the following recommendations – many of which should be familiar to readers – for minimizing toxic dust bunnies:

  • Vacuum regularly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  • Mop after dusting to pick up any lingering dust.
  • Wipe window ledges, crib ledges, desks, and other chewable surfaces.
  • Damp-dust electronics to prevent flame retardants from building up on them.
  • Wash toys and stuffed animals regularly.
  • Encourage frequent hand-washing, especially before meals.
  • Take off shoes at the door and use door mats at every entrance.
  • Consider having your ducts cleaned.
  • Be aware that toxic exposure occurs at other places too, like schools.
  • Choose safer products that minimize toxic chemicals like flame retardants, dangerous adhesives, and the like.

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